CMA leads Europe-wide action on car hire

South East | Transport & Distribution

People renting a car from Europe’s five biggest hire companies can now do so with more confidence following CMA-led action. Firms including Europcar and Sixt have made changes to deliver on previous commitments about how they display charges and other key information on their websites, so people will now know exactly how much they are paying upfront.

The move comes after a CMA review of whether the companies were complying with commitments they made to be clearer about their prices, in some cases about charges that people can’t avoid when renting a car. This found the firms were still providing unclear information on some of their websites.

In 2015, Avis Budget, Enterprise, Hertz, Sixt, and Europcar made a series of commitments to the CMA, European Commission and other consumer enforcement authorities across Europe. These included providing customers with the total price they will pay at the start of the booking process and clearer information about any other costs, such as excess amounts and deposits. But, after reviewing the firms’ practices, the CMA found that in some cases customers could still be hit by hidden costs or misled by unclear information.

After leading a Europe-wide project to address these concerns, the CMA is now satisfied that the five companies are making the necessary changes to make sure that key information is displayed clearly and prominently. These changes will also apply to Goldcar following its recent acquisition by Europcar, and, as this action has been taken across Europe, consumers across the EU will benefit from CMA’s work.

George Lusty, Senior Director for Consumer Protection at the CMA, said: “No one should be misled or caught out by hidden fees when renting a car. The big 5 told us in 2015 they would update their practices, but we’ve found they weren’t doing all that they’d committed to. Following our further intervention, the charges people see on the big 5’s websites will be clear, prominent and accurate, allowing customers to choose the best possible deal for them. We’ll keep the firms under close review to ensure they deliver on their commitments.”

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